I’ve been getting the question all summer, seemingly everywhere I go. In the elevator at work. In restaurants. At a funeral.
“How are the Dogs gonna do? How many wins do you think they’ll have?”
So now it’s time to make that annual venture out on the limb and share with you what I’ve been telling those folks, though I first must remind you that my record as a seer is mixed.
Most years since I’ve been doing this blog I’ve been fairly conservative in my predictions, with the Dogs even bettering my forecast a couple of times. And then there’ve been a couple of seasons like last year, when I predicted a 10-2 regular season and Georgia winning the SEC East. That didn’t go so well.
Of course, I wasn’t alone. In a poll we did here last year, only 18 percent of you thought Georgia would have less than nine wins and 44 percent expected at least 10 wins.
I’m not going quite that far this year. I think Mark Richt’s team will do well enough to turn the heat down a notch under his seat and, depending on how many times South Carolina and Florida mess up, they might still be in contention for the SEC East late in the season.
But 10 wins in the regular season? Can’t quite see that.
I think Todd Grantham’s defense will be much improved this year, though I’ll feel much better the first time I see Kwame Geathers or John “Motel 6″ Jenkins stuff a big-time running back. I’m excited about the linebackers and I feel a whole lot more confident about the secondary than I did back before spring practice.
But the offense has a lot of question marks and is very thin at key positions. As my son put it, “the O-line is a scooter accident away from disaster.” The Dogs also are ridiculously shy of depth and experience at running back, and while the talent looks promising at receiver, a step down in production there sort of has to be expected with the departure of A.J. Green and Kris Durham. Plus, of course, the Dogs still have hot-and-cold Mike Bobo calling the plays.
So I’m expecting Georgia to wind up 9-3.
Here’s why: I see the Dogs splitting those tough first two games. No, I wouldn’t be shocked if they won them both or lost them both, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Then comes a stretch of five games where Georgia ought to be the favorite every week. However, the pessimist in me sees them losing one game they shouldn’t this season and it’ll probably be in Knoxville. Finally, I think Georgia likely will lose to either Florida or Auburn, but not both. Again, at this point it looks like the Dogs ought to be favored in both of those games but Jacksonville is still Jacksonville, and Auburn-Georgia is always tough.
I’ll admit I flirted with 10-2 again while reading about how his teammates all say Isaiah Crowell is the real deal. But I also gave serious consideration to 8-4 as I watched Georgia’s depth get downright precarious at several positions over the past few months.
How satisfying would a 9-3 season be? Well, a win over either Boise State or South Carolina would look awfully good. And if one of those nine victories is over the Gators, I don’t think there’d be too much reason for grumbling, even if Georgia doesn’t make it to the SEC championship.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been telling all the folks who ask me how the Dogs are going to do. Feel free to join me out on that limb with your own season predictions.
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